The Army Substance Abuse Program kicks off the fall season by asking you to support a substance abuse-free lifestyle for our community and our youth by participating in the National Red Ribbon Week Campaign, Oct. 23-31

Here is just a brief history behind the National Red Ribbon Week Campaign.

Many people may not be aware that Red Ribbon Week was established to honor Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Agency agent and former Marine, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by drug traffickers in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1985. Members of Camarena’s hometown of Calexico, California, began wearing red ribbons as a tribute to him over 35 years ago. In 1988, a congressional committee chaired by Nancy Reagan proclaimed the last week of October as National Red Ribbon Week. The Department of Defense joined the celebration of the National Red Ribbon Week Campaign, which is our nation’s oldest and largest drug abuse prevention campaign, reaching millions of Americans every year.

This year’s campaign theme is “Drug-Free Looks Like Me.” The theme is a reminder that every day Americans across the country make significant daily contributions to their communities by being the best they can be because they live drug-free. The Red Ribbon Week Campaign is directed toward youth in grades K-12, so it is important that as a community we set the standard and discuss the importance of our youth living a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. At this point, just imagine how confused our youth must be with so many mixed signals as to what is normal. Together we can ensure that our youth see us as a common front against drug and alcohol use and abuse. By using this year’s theme to drive the message home, we can help our youth to make smart decisions regarding drug and alcohol use and abuse.

On Oct. 22 the fourth- and fifth-grade classes at Williams, Whitesburg, Morris and Providence elementary schools and the MWR Library will receive Boo Bags with red ribbons and promotional items. On Oct. 27 and 28, an informational table will be set up at the Garrison headquarters building 4488, first floor from 8-10 a.m. The substance abuse program staff will conduct Smash Match with the Fatal Vision goggles, hand out red ribbons, and informational pamphlets highlighting the dangers substance abuse poses to our community and our way of life.

For more information about the Red Ribbon Week Campaign or the Army Substance Abuse Program services, call 876-4084 or email soni.a.benson.civ@mail.mil.

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